51st place: that's the Lone Star State's ranking in the 2014 edition of the Nursing Home Report Card put out by Families for Better Care. The report ranked the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and looked at eight federal measures to gauge nursing home quality. Texas scored failing grades in six of those eight categories.
"Really, this is a shameful report for Governor Perry, the Texas Legislature, and for nursing home operators and owners who live in Texas," said Brian Lee, the Executive Director of Families for Better Care.
Lee says that part of the solution to this problem is for Texas to enact tougher staffing standards. Currently residents in Texas nursing homes received less than two hours and fifteen minutes of direct daily care. The difference between the states that get "A" grades and those who get "F" grades, according to Lee, is about twenty-two minutes of extra resident care.
In Wichita Falls, the stats aren't much better. Out of 10 nursing homes studied in the Falls, 40 percent had severe deficiencies, more than two times the state average.
"It's pretty shocking, and should be alarming for families who live in the Wichita Falls area," said Lee.
Two nursing homes in the Falls, Courtyard Gardens and University Park Nursing and Rehabilitation, had immediate jeopardy violations against them last year, meaning residents were subject to abuse, neglect, or worse. The immediate jeopardy (IJ) report for Courtyard Gardens found that they failed to do more than a cursory search for a resident who had cognitive impairment who wandered off the premises in 105° heat. The resident was found dead by police the next morning.
University Park Nursing Home, according the report, failed to put a smoking apron on a resident and allowed him to smoke unsupervised. The resident suffered burns to his clothes and 30 percent of his body, and later died.
"To me, that's unconscionable care," said Lee.
To see the full report from Families for Better Care, click here.